The Globalization of Inequality

Princeton Univ. May 2015. 224p. tr. from French by Thomas Scott-Railton. notes. index. ISBN 9780691160528. $27.95; ebk. ISBN 9781400865659. ECON
The surprising popularity of Thomas Piketty's Capital in the Twenty-First Century, which warned that capitalism inherently led to concentration of wealth, gave the economics of inequality prominence on the public agenda. Other economists, such as Branko Milanovic in Worlds Apart, have emphasized inequality among countries. In this title, Bourguignon (economics, Coll. de France, Paris; former chief economist & senior vice president, World Bank; coeditor, Handbook of Income Distribution) documents the opposing trends toward inequality within nations and convergence among them. With respect to inequality among nations, the author argues for trade liberalization, even preferences, and foreign aid targeted to the poorest countries. He expresses skepticism about the ability of most taxes, transfers, and protectionist measures to reduce the growing inequality within nations, which he sees as a potential threat to economic efficiency, and is more optimistic about investments in education, inheritance taxes, and regulation of financial and labor markets.
VERDICT Recommended for readers seeking a brief, less technical introduction to economic inequality within and among nations.

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